Tony, Emmy and SAG award winning actress Christine Baranski will be Leonard's mom, Dr. Beverly Hofstadter. That's right, she's a brainiac.
Her specialty is research on the human brain, and according to Bill Prady, Big Bang's executive producer, "There's the possibility that Leonard is the least successful in his family, that his parents always pushed him toward academic success." Sounds like a funny set up to me.
As a change of pace, I asked TV know-it-all Paul Goebel to write a rebuttal to today's review. Goebel is an actor and comedian who appeared as the "TV Geek" on the short-lived Comedy Central quiz show Beat the Geeks and has appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ally McBeal, Will and Grace and other shows. He currently hosts a show at the UCB Theater in Los Angeles, and does a weekly podcast with his pal Jim Bruce called "The Paul Goebel Show." If you like TV, you should check it out. His response is after my review.
Ever since Linda Lavin helmed the CBS Schoolbreak Special "Flour Babies" in 1990, the idea of students being assigned fake babies has been spoofed numerous times. The winner for best spoof goes to the Strangers with Candy episode "A Burden's Burden" in which Jerri and her classmates are assigned actually babies. There's also the South Park episode "Follow That Egg" that manages to tackle both gay marriage and child custody battles when the kids are given eggs and told to treat them like real babies.
(S02E04) Sadness is nature's spankings. - Clay Puppington
Those of us who have been watching Moral Orel since the beginning know that the show is more complex than it appears on the surface. The inner tensions within his own family and the other grown ups in Moralton were hinted at in the first season and have come more into focus this season. I'm not a television writer, but I imagine trying to meld the funny and the emotional into an eleven-minute amalgam can't be easy, which is why I think the "slow reveal" approach has worked so well for Moral Orel. In this episode, when Orel finds out his mother might have another family, the scene doesn't feel like it was suddenly sprung on us out of nowhere, because Bloberta's unhappiness and detachment has been part of the show's subtext since it first aired a year ago.
Principal Blackman: Talk your monkey ass off. I'll be watching you.
This episode, in which Jerri comes face to face with her long lost son (though she doesn't realize it until the end of the episode) was co-written by Tom Lennon of The State and Reno 911!
This episode starts off, as all the season one episodes do, with Jerri explaining who she is and why she's in her forties and attending high school. She tells her tale to a ficus she's inexplicable planted in the middle of a baseball diamond (it's an Arbor Day thing). Meanwhile, it's also almost time for the Sadie Hawkins Dance, which, as many of you may know, is when girls have to ask the boys to the dance instead of vice versa. Her friend Orlando begins to drop some not so subtle hints that he'd like to go with her, but Jerri finds herself attracted to the new student, Ricky, played by Frederick Koehler (a.k.a. "Chip" from Kate and Allie). Jerri likes Ricky but she can't let anyone know because Ricky is hated by everyone, including the teachers, simply because he's new. When he first arrives in Noblet's class, Noblet doesn't give him a desk but instead makes him sit in the back on a box of slightly irregular jeans. Jerri tries to maintain a friendship with Ricky while also maintaining her status among her peers, such as one scene where she uses a tire iron to smash his car to impress her friends, all the while insisting to Ricky she really does like him.
(S01E03) I don't think there was ever a bad episode of Strangers with Candy, but if someone were to put a gun to my head and force me to name my least favorite episode, it would probably be this one. I think my main problem with it was actor Jacob Pitts, who plays "Craig Snow" in this episode. While I'm sure Pitts is a fine actor in his own right, he didn't seem to jibe with the cast the way their other guest stars tend to do. Strangers exists in its own weird universe, and one of the great things about the series is that everyone who is in it, whether it be the main characters or side characters, understands the pacing and rhythm, and their performances are pitch perfect. However, like any great jazz combo, you toss in one mediocre trombone player and everything starts to seem a little off.
Jane Kaczmarek, who played mom on Malcolm in the Middle, and who should be kept on TV as long as she has the ability to stand and recite her lines, may have a recurring role as Ted Danson's wife on the new series Help Me Help You, which I mentioned back in March and which was recently picked up by ABC. Kaczmarek will appear in the pilot episode as Danson's wife, and there is talk of bringing her back for other episodes. Heck, I hope they give her a fulltime role, as she's one of the most impressive actresses I've seen on TV in a long time. She played one of the best moms on TV, and her occasional role as a judge on The Simpsons always cracked me up.
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